NBA 2K17, for the second straight edition, includes three-fourths of the NBA on TNT studio team: Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal and Kenny Smith. Noticeably absent is Charles Barkley.
Chuck isn't holding out because of spite. The series wanted to bring the former NBA MVP into the fold, but the two could not agree on a price. Barkley made an obscure, admirable proposal that was denied.
"The reason I am not on 2K is because they would not give me money," Barkley told Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated. "They make a lot of money on that game. What I said to them was we as players have not done enough for the retired players association.
"We told the 2K people that our job is to take care of the older players. I don't even want any money. I said, 'Let's come up with an amount of money for you to give to the retired players union.' They said, 'Well, we get all the guys the same.' And I said, Well, we ain't all the same.' I told them they make a gazillion dollars on that game. They said, 'Well we are not going to do that.' So I'm not giving them the right to use my license until they come up with a fair number.
"I'm not trying to be a pig or greedy. They should donate the money to the retired players. If they would give a million dollars a year to [the] retired players union, they can use my likeness."
Of course, there is no confirmation from 2K Sports, and Barkley could be embellishing whatever conversation he had with the executives. But Barkley also may run for public office one day and this is great politics. Now, it is on 2K Sports to make the donation to the National Basketball Retired Players Association.
Also, for the record, Barkley has appeared in recent NBA 2K games as a player on classic 76ers and Suns teams, as well as the 1992 Dream Team. In NBA 2K17, Barkley is present on the Dream Team.
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.